Nidar Assets May Not Cover Its Debts

The banks claim that the general contracting company misled the court about its debt.

Nidar Construction and Development may have found shelter from creditors under the court's wing yesterday, but the banks claim that the general contracting company misled the court about the true scope of its debt. Nidar admitted to owing about NIS 345 million. The banks' assesment is about NIS 100 million higher.

Another problem is that according to a calculation by TheMarker, the value of Nidar's assets falls short of covering its debts. Most of its properties are not considered attractive by the terms of the real estate market, and their total value comes to about NIS 234 million. The company itself states that its assets are worth about NIS 285 million.

Nidar's assets include land in Jerusalem near Holyland Park which is zoned for 264 apartments. The company says it's worth NIS 260 million, roughly speaking, but real estate sector sources think the price will be nearer NIS 200 million, no more.

The company also owns six other properties, including land in Ra'anana, Haifa and Jerusalem, none of which are zoned for development yet.

Jerusalem District Court Judge Joseph Shapira yesterday issued a stay of proceedings, affording Nidar temporary protection from creditors, despite objections from Hapoalim and Leumi. The banks mean to take further steps to get the temporary stay removed.

Bank Leumi is Nidar's biggest creditor. In its motion asking for the stay of proceedings, Nidar wrote that it owes Leumi NIS 116 million. The bank begs to differ and says that the construction firm owes it NIS 212 million, including NIS 84 million for guarantees that the bank had given regarding a xopert: Eproject in Modi'in.

Bank Hapoalim also says there's a discrepancy between Nidar's stated debts and its actual money owed. Nidar says it owes Hapoalim NIS 35 million, and that Hapoalim has liens to deposits containing NIS 20 million, to land worth NIS 15 million in Ra'anana, land worth NIS 8 million in Holon and to property in Pisgat Ze'ev in North Jerusalem, worth NIS 5 million. Bank Hapoalim says that Nidar owes it NIS 40 million.

Leumi had secured itself against at least part of Nidar's debts through liens on the Holyland site. It also has an attachment to land Nidar owns in Rehovot that the company estimates to be worth NIS 2.8 million.

Bank Leumi will be filing its objections to suspending legal steps against Nidar today. In parallel the bank will be suing to have a receiver appointed with the authority to sell the Holyland site. Bank Hapoalim has already filed its objection with the court.

Nidar owes money not only to banks also to its workers. It's NIS 0.2 million in arrears on salaries to 14 employees. It is also behind by NIS 1.1 million in various employee-related provisions, for instance into their provident and pension funds. Moreover, Nidar owes NIS 4.2 million to the Tax Authority, mostly for income tax.

Nidar's debts to unsecured creditors, who are generally last in line to get repaid, amount to NIS 166 million, the court heard yesterday. The company owes NIS 13 million to suppliers, as well as huge sums to its bondholders.

Holders of the company's ordinary "straight" bonds are owed NIS 77 million, while holders of its corporate bonds are owed NIS 29 million.

Also, the Rahmin family - Nidar's controlling shareholders - claim that the company owes them NIS 32 million, including NIS 7 million in management fees they did not withdraw, severance pay for termination of employment and reimbursement of costs that, the family claims, it paid in Nidar's stead. The rest of the money the company owes them, say the Rachmins, follows a shareholders' loan.

During 2007, Nidar paid four Rachmin family members a total of NIS 470,000 a month, amounting to NIS 5.6 million for the year.

In recent months Nidar has been vigorously selling off its assets. In the past three months the company sold about NIS 21 million worth of properties, including its rights to two buildings, in Kiryat Ono and Holon, for NIS 9 million to Aura Investments. It struck other deals too, including one not announced yet to sell a residential project under construction in Holon to Natanel Group for NIS 8 million.

While increasing its liquidity Nidar also tried to improve its management. Three months ago it named the former chief executive of Direct Investment House, Moshe Halperin, as CEO. Nidar stated that all the figures would be presented by its court-appointed trustee, advocate Amir Bartov.